Author Topic: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point  (Read 5952 times)

Offline Headless2

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2022, 12:24:06 AM »
BOYS HEAD BLOWN OFF

Victim: Albert Edwin Williams, 10 years
Cause of death: Accidental shooting
Location of death: Little Blowhole Reserve, Kiama
Date: 28th March, 1896


Born on the 31st of December in 1884, Albert Edwin Williams was only ten years old when he met his death, the victim of a tragic and fatal accident that took place in front of 200-300 shocked spectators.

On the afternoon of the 28th of March in 1896, a volunteer detachment of the "E" Company and Infantry Register were holding a public practice session of the new Nordenfeldt gun- a multiple-barrel organ gun that had a row of up to twelve barrels. It was fired by pulling a lever back and forth and ammunition was gravity fed through chutes for each barrel. It was produced in a number of different calibres from rifle up to 25 mm (1 inch).

The group had been firing at a floating target that was set up just off shore, about 800 yards away. Just before the end of the session, the lever axis pin came loose and there was a temporary pause. As Sergeant Smith was adjusting it, there was no order made to cease fire and the practice continued.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Before anyone could understand how or why, a child had wandered onto the field and in front of the direct path of the oncoming bullets. It appeared as if Albert was attempting to pass by from the east to west side when he encountered the full charge of the weapon as it discharged. The top of the poor boy's head was completely blown off, death occurring instantaneously. The horrified witnesses were left with the grisly task of collecting pieces of the boy's brain and skull.

An inquest into the death was held that same day by the District Coroner (Charles Cameron)

Staff Sergeant Smith testified to being the acting instructor at the time of the tragedy. Before the firing commenced, he and Captain Honey, Let. Ryan ensured to move the spectators back, a safe distance away from the gun. He reported that two men had completed their firing and a third had commenced when the axis pin on the lever became stuck, stopping the gun from working. Smith immediately corrected the pin and after checking for the all clear, fired five rounds, four of which entered the head of the young victim. He claimed that from the time of his looking to the gun firing was only one or two seconds, indicating that the boy had likely run in front of the weapon. In cross examination, he remained adamant that the pin having come loose had nothing to do with the accident. He further stated that of the 200-300 spectators, several kept encroaching past their designated boundaries.

Despite this admission, Smith admitted that, at no point, was an order for cease fire ever instructed to the team. He remained insistent that no one was guilty of negligence. Honey and Ryan, both men of high wealth and status, corroborated Smith's evidence and exonerated the detachment of carelessness.

W. Grey (witness) described the moment that he saw Williams drop to the ground after being shot, about a yard distant to the gun, the top of his head removed by the blast. It happened so fast, Grey could not remember seeing the boy before this moment nor did he see him approach.

James Duggan was the only witness to provide illumination as to the reasons why Albert had placed himself in such grave danger. He reported that the child appeared to be running after the stray bullet cartridges and had stopped for less than a minute in front of the muzzle weapon, searching the ground.

Death was declared as instantaneous, the top portion of the boy's skull above the eyebrows having been blown away. All of the witnesses presented expressed the opinion that the death was the fault of no one's carelessness except by the deceased himself.

After an hour, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, no blame being attached to anyone.

The father of the deceased child (Thomas Williams) was employed at Dapto whilst Albert lived in Kiama with his mother (Mary) and sister.

Laid to rest: Kiama Cemetery. Uniting C14. Memorial Id- 48915701, his small coffin carried by the boys and girls of the Wesleyan Sunday School that he attended

Click on the link for a very intriguing story about Ghosts of Kiama Harbour.
https://www.paranormal.com.au/public/index.php/topic,11761.0.html

Offline KANACKI

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2022, 11:51:29 PM »
Hello Headless Wow! that is an amazing sad story at the little blow hole.  Totally inept accident they would never get away with the excuses today.

I do not think I will see the little blow hole the same way again.

Kanacki

Offline Headless2

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2023, 12:20:30 AM »
You once had to pay a toll to travel the road from Kiama to Jamberoo. The toll-bar was in use from 1844-1849, at a time when there were no good roads, and no decent transport or warehouses to deal with the produce grown within the Kiama district. Pack horses were used for transporting the produce to market during the early years of settlement, and they had to travel over very rough country to reach the boats for transportation to Sydney, and pay for the privilege!
 
John Bele secured the toll rights in 1844 for a sum of Ł53 per year, and employed a man called Soden to be the toll keeper. Michael Hindmarsh had originally brought Soden to Kiama from Wollongong to be a tutor for his family, before he became the toll keeper. Soden lived in a little shack a few yards away from the toll on the northern side of the road. When a cart approached, Soden would come out from his shack, collect the toll and then lift the wooden bar for the carts to pass through.
 
The complicated schedule of toll fees, depending on what type of animal was passing through (sheep, lamb, pig, goat, cattle, horse, mule) and how many, the type of vehicle (wagon, cart, dray, coach, gig, chaise or chariot), and how many wheels it had and the number of horses required to pull it.

Traffic was light on the road – especially since ‘from time immemorial every ruse being exploited to by-pass the toll-keeper’, and so the toll eventually failed. When the toll was closed down, after five years of operation, Soden went on to become the first Town Clerk in Kiama.
 
In 1931, a memorial was erected on Jamberoo Road to mark the place where the toll bar stood, just off to the right, 100 metres after the bus stop as you leave Kiama, a white concrete stand with a marble plaque, next to Spring Creek.

Also the site of a sad tragic incident.



To be continued…..

Offline Headless2

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2023, 12:24:11 AM »
THE TOLL BAR DROWNING — ACCIDENT OR MURDER?

Victim: Samuel Arnold, 11 years old
Cause of death: Accidental drowning - Open verdict
Location of death: Illawarra Toll bar/Spring Creek, Jamberoo Road
Date: 25th January 1871

Samuel Arnold was born in Sydney on the 6th of December in 1859, the first child and only son of English migrants, Cubitt and Mary Ann Arnold (Formerly Szarka) who had met and married after their separate arrivals to Australia. Mary was only 13 when she made the long and arduous journey with her family. In those days, the trip was one that many often didn't survive. Three months at sea and often in less than humane conditions saw many passengers meeting their death before they stepped foot on Australian soil.

Such was the case for Mary's mother who is recorded as having passed away at sea at the age of only thirty-seven, leaving her seven children motherless. After Samuel's birth, the couple continued to add to their family with the addition of their daughters- Rachel, Hannah (who passed away on the day of her birth), Emily (passed at less than a year old) and Ellen. By this time, the family had relocated to the Kiama district where fate dealt the Arnold's another blow.

Employed as baker, it was Samuel's job to deliver the bread his father baked to local residents, and it was on this regular route of his that he met with unfortunate circumstances. It was one of these regular patrons who noticed that things were not quite right on the morning of the 25th of January 1871.

Mrs. W King was out in her paddock attending to the cows at around 5am when she noticed the lad's breadbasket abandoned on the banks of Spring creek, nearby what residents referred to as 'the old toll bar.' He was late for his delivery and the woman was instantly struck with an eerie feeling that something had gone terribly wrong. Her first thought was that he was in the creek and had drowned.

Panicked, she quickly raised the alarm, alerting a man named James Hamilton to the situation. Hamilton was working nearby and the two went to investigate. There was no sign of the boy. However, what they found was somehow worse. The lad's cap floating on the water's surface. Unsure what to do next, Hamilton left to inform Mr. Woods of the incident and to round up more help.



To be continued…..

Offline Headless2

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2023, 12:26:52 AM »
Thomas had been splitting wood in his nearby paddock when he heard the woman's frantic cries, overhearing her telling another neighbor of the suspected tragedy. Leaving his duties incomplete, he raced to the creek to provide assistance even though by now, it was far too late. Diving fully dressed with no thought of his own safety into the water near where the boy's cap was found, he followed the creek upwards until he stumbled across a hole which was about 5-6 feet in depth.

It did not take him long to realize the poor lad's body was at the bottom, his foot brushing against the remains. From what he could gather, the body was positioned on its hands and knees at the bottom of the ditch, a peculiar pose for a drowning victim to be found in.

Grasping the victim's clothing, Thomas managed to tug the boy towards the surface. But the ordeal was far from over for the brave rescuer. Owing to the steep terrain within the vicinity of the drowning, Thomas was forced to carry the motionless yet still warm corpse over his shoulder for a distance of about 20-30 yards down the creek towards the group that had amassed on the bank.

It was not an easy trek. Both banks on either side of the creek were extremely steep, making it very hard for one to get out once in. Once the body was successfully hoisted out of the creek bed, Mrs. Atkinson removed the boy's clothing, wrapping him in warm blankets and the group took turns attempting to massage life back into the small boy but it was clear to those present that he was quite dead.

Dr. Harman Tarrant soon arrived on scene, partially undressing the victim in order to perform artificial respiration with the combined effort of a galvanized battery. Sadly, there was no response. Even so, efforts continued for fifteen minutes. It was later deduced that Samuel had been in the water for at least hour before he was discovered missing. Cause of death was shortly established as suffocation by drowning.

As news of the popular delivery boy's death spread around town, people were shocked and initially refused to believe the rumors, especially since several residents had only just seen him on his route a short time ago. However, the stories were confirmed once a cart bearing the dead boy's pale and still body rolled into town, leaving locals stunned by the sudden and tragic turn of events.



To be continued…..

Offline Headless2

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2023, 12:28:53 AM »
An inquest into the death was conducted at Kiama Courthouse on the 2nd of February. One of the first witnesses, a man named James Hamilton, testified that he had seen the victim about an hour before his body was recovered. James was out looking for a missing mare when he crossed paths with the boy who headed off in the direction of the Wood's property. On hearing the news, James raced to get assistance from Mr. Woods. Lamenting his choice at the inquiry, Hamilton expressed his apologies to Samuel's father, saying that he should have gone jumped in the water but was flustered and in a panic.

Thomas Atkinson also gave evidence and after both men had finished speaking, they were re-called to the stand. On further questioning, it was clarified that the hole in which the deceased was found was 16 feet from the culvert and situated on boundary of the water reserve and road. Atkinson further added that it would have been impossible for anyone to get out of the creek without knowing how to swim. He saw nothing to indicate that the boy had been fishing or any other evidence that would point to how he came to be in the water.

Without even retiring to discuss the case further, the jury declared an open verdict of accidental drowning. As an added recommendation, the council was urged to erect a fence or some sort of protection at the spot to prevent a reoccurrence. But in ruling the death an open verdict, were they ever really concerned that this would happen again for surely there is an insinuation that this was no accident.

In a final stroke of tragedy, Samuel's parents wishes to have their only son laid to rest at Campbelltown cemetery where the rest of the family were interned were stolen in a cruel twist of fate. The inquiry was organized to commence at 9am, an unusually early hour, so that it may be over in time to have the boy's body transported to Sydney by steamer.

But, just as the evidence of the last witness was being taken, the Illalong was seen sailing away from port, the danger signal having been hoisted. The bereaved father was left with no other option than to lay his son to rest amongst strangers. He was interned at Kiama Cemetery, the small coffin followed to the grave by many of the deceased friends and school mates.



To be continued…..

Offline Headless2

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2023, 12:32:23 AM »
Why was the body found in such a position?

If the terrain was so treacherous, why did Samuel veer towards the creek in the first place?

Was Samuel's basket full or empty? No bread was mentioned, and the timing of the event would indicate he was at the very start of his route.

Were there any bruises or injuries to the body? No medical evidence was published other than the attending doctor's account and pronouncement of death.

Here’s what a Medium had to say:—

The boy set off as directed and at first everything was fine. It wasn't until he got a small thicket of trees between properties that things changed. What he didn't know was that a convict had escaped an unfair situation and was desperate. He had come from further down south and was travelling slightly inland to avoid main travel routes. Using creeks, paddocks and bush to make his way north. He had chosen the creek that boy was near that day. He was in the trees and could see the boy coming. He could see the boy was carrying something. It didn't matter if it was food or something of value - either would help. 

As the boy approached, he watched and waited until he could approach unseen. Coming from behind, I see the boy turning around in surprise and falling back into the grass beside the creek, his hat falling off and his goods hitting the ground. He scrambled to get to his feet and the convict noticed he was going to scream out for help. He lunged at the boy to cover his mouth and they both went down the embankment which was steep.

They landed at the edge of the water half in water, half in branch and mud stuck to the embankment. They landed with the convict on top. He took advantage and sank the boys head under the water. When he stopped moving, he dragged him up a little to a deep spot and tried to weigh him down with a rock. A poor attempt but sufficient as the foot got caught and held it down. He then took some the goods and waded away down the creek until he felt clear and hopped out. Later, the boy was found. The convict long gone by this time.



There’s also an alleged ghost wandering along Jamberoo Road.



To be continued…..

Offline Headless2

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2024, 03:40:37 AM »
Here’s the location of the deaths, check previous posts for the whole story.

The yellow line in the photo shows where the toll bar once stood and used from 1844-1849. If you zoom in, you’ll notice a square concrete slab at the end of the yellow line.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7056/3j8UTs.png



In 1931, a memorial was erected to mark the place where the toll bar was, a white concrete stand and a marble plaque of a 11 year old boy who suspiciously drowned in Spring Creek beside the toll bar.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5388/VrgReT.png

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/7387/BYx5VR.png



This photo shows the complicated schedule of toll fees.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/8761/vteFTp.png



Let’s take a look at the 2 blowholes.

Kiama Blowhole is just over 2km from the toll bar as indicated by the yellow line.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/1334/sK9OSP.png



To be continued…..

Offline Headless2

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2024, 03:54:00 AM »
Here’s a photo of Kiama headland.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/1157/njt7hN.png



Here’s where the blowhole is located by the yellow triangle. Most suicides occurred along the cliffs near the blowhole.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/9426/bM22OK.png




The yellow line shows the location of 7 family members that drowned in 1992. I was there fishing on that horrific day clueless to what was happening until helicopters and boats swarmed the area.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/8157/80OOZ6.png




Here’s where I was fishing.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/1159/NwyNcr.png



Here’s the location of the Little Blowhole.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/7953/5LKasC.png




Here’s the Little Blowhole and where Albert Edwin Williams, aged 10 accidentally had his head blown off by a Nordenfelt gun.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/4131/f5VrGZ.png

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img922/3800/PdDjLI.jpg

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/6853/37jV2t.png

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/7929/i0MqNT.jpg

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/1411/LYVcZg.png

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/5899/o598zu.jpg



If Kiama Blowhole is on your bucket list, don’t forget to check out Minnamurra only 10 minutes up the road.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img923/3605/NZ0UzI.png

For more information on Minnamurra read The Ghosts of the Bloody Mile.

Offline KANACKI

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Re: Dark History of Kiama Blowhole Point
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2024, 12:06:35 PM »
Some great photographs headless

Where the holiday cabins are now. There used to a be a caravan park and camping area. We camped there several times in the early 70's so as kid I used to play and swim the rock pool near the harbour.

Years later as teenager I actually swam into the the blowhole on a Calm day. but you got to get the right weather conditions to do that. the little swell and no wind.'

Across from the light house there was a shop with an aquarium. I had a big round tank with sea turtles in it and you have glass portholes look into it. there was circular corridor and on the other was smaller fish tanks with fish in them. you would enter through the gift shop I think it was coffee shop as well.

kanacki


 


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